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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sessions Now Recalls Key Meetings Related to Trump Campaign Russia Contacts; Interview with Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island; President Trump Arrives Back in Washington After Asia Trip. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 14, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening.
President Trump's due back from his Asia trip momentarily. The Air Force One is expected to arrive during the hour ahead. We'll bring you his remarks if any. He's certainly coming home to a number of new developments on a number of fronts.
On the Roy Moore story, new reports tonight that about the same time Moore was allegedly having improper contact with teenage girls, he was on a watch list of sorts at a local shopping mall.
And tonight for the first time, one of the merchants from back then speaks on camera to 360's Gary Tuchman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG LEGAT, FORMER GADSDEN MALL EMPLOYEE: And we talked about other people, and then somebody said, and don't forget about Roy Moore. And I asked what about Roy Moore? And they said, well, he's banned from the mall. I said, why is he banned, and the police officer wouldn't tell me. He said if you see him, let me know, I'll take care of it.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So what did you eventually learn as to the reason why he was banned from the mall?
LEGAT: I was told he was bothering girls in the mall.
TUCHMAN: In what way?
LEGAT: I don't know exactly. That he was approaching them and talking to them.
TUCHMAN: Girls. When you're saying girls --
LEGAT: Teenage girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You can see Gary's full report a little bit later on in this hour.
There's new reporting as well on the latest effort by Republicans in Washington to persuade Moore to get out of the race by cutting off campaign dollars.
We begin tonight, though, with the attorney general of the United States and his selective memory when it comes to contact with Russia. Jeff Sessions raised his right hand today and swore to tell members of the House Judiciary Committee the truth. Assuming that he did, it would make him one for three in such appearances on the subject. On two prior occasions, the nation's top law enforcement officer has raised his right hand, sworn to tell the truth and then said things that later turned out to be not truth.
Today, he denied ever misleading anyone about Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: To the best of my memory he says. As you'll see momentarily, that memory of his sees not existent in a lot of places, specific in others. First though, how he got to this point, namely by saying things that later proved to be untrue.
January 10th at this confirmation under oath, then Senator Sessions said this when Senator Al Franken asked him what he would do in the following situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: If there's any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
SESSIONS: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign. And I did not have communications with the Russians. And I'm unable to comment on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A week later when asked in writing by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government, about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day, Senator Sessions replied no.
Keeping them honest, both this denial and the one he volunteered to Senator Franken were false. Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice during the campaign, including on meeting during the Republican convention in Cleveland in July, and the meeting in his Senate in September. He did not list encounters on the disclosure form which says right on in to list any contact with a foreign government. He did list plenty of others but not that. He said he was specifically told he did need to. Now, whatever you
make of that, Senator Franken certainly wasn't buying it. So, last month when Senator Sessions once again raised his right hand before the Senate Judiciary Committee and swore to tell the truth, here's what he said when questioned by Senator Franken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Now, is that what you're saying, that you don't believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you're saying?
SESSIONS: I did not, and I'm not aware of anyone else that I did. And I don't believe it happened.
FRANKEN: And you don't believe it now?
SESSIONS: I don't believe it happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that turned out to be false. Here's the meeting on March 31st of last year which campaign adviser George Papadopoulos mentioned ongoing conversations with people linked to the Kremlin with the aim of setting up a meeting between candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin, which, of course, prompts the question, why didn't he mention it in his two prior appearances before Congress. Well, his answer today in so many words was I forgot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I would like to address recent news reports regarding meetings during the campaign attended by George Papadopoulos and Carter Page among others. Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In fact on Russia and other subjects, this wasn't the first time today that the attorney general's memory failed him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I do not recall such a conversation. I don't recall it. I don't recall. I don't recall. I don't recall. I don't recall it. I don't recall that.
[20:05:01] I don't recall how that exactly occurred. I do not recall. But I did not recall this event. I don't recall. I don't recall at this moment sitting here, any such discussions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, having established his memory can be hazy at time and that he did not recall even having had the march meeting until he saw it on the news about the meeting with Papadopoulos, Attorney General Sessions did reveal his memory suddenly work fine on one small detail of that meeting. He does remember in very specific detail that he did the right thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I do now recall that the March 2016 meeting at the Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended. But I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting. After reading his account and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I want today make clear to him that he was not authorize to represent the campaign with the Russian government or any other foreign government for that matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, the bottom line, it's all a blur, except the part about doing the right thing. He says the campaign was chaotic, and hectic, and certainly none of us has total recall or even under any ideal circumstances.
That said, this is the third time Jeff Sessions has given testimony on contact with Russia. It's a big deal. It's the kind of thing you'd think you might remember.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown was at the hearing. She joins us now.
So, I mean, yet another day, another hearing where the attorney general has difficulty recalling things when it comes to anything to do with Russia.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And he was certainly grilled about that, peppered with questions, Anderson, from Democratic lawmakers about why he's suddenly remembering the Trump campaign's contacts with Russians that he didn't recall before during past hearings.
Sessions admitted today that after media reports surfaced about that March 2016 meeting where campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos suggested setting up a meeting between Putin and Trump, only then did he recall pushing back against Papadopoulos' suggestion. But he made pretty clear that's really the only detail that he recalls from that meeting. He also said he doesn't remember anything about Carter Page's meeting to Moscow where he met with Russians, even though Page says he told in Sessions in passing that he was going to Moscow.
And throughout the hearing, Sessions, as you pointed out, Anderson, repeatedly said he did not recall details about contacts with Russians, explaining, it seemed innocuous, it was easy to forget those things in the midst of a chaotic campaign. But Sessions today testified he has never lied or misled Congress under oath regarding what he could recall at the time, Anderson.
COOPER: It's interesting. He's also asked about how he forgot his meeting with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak in his Senate office. What did he say about that? BROWN: Right. So, on this, he said he was focused on responding to
the Congress that he was engaging and continuous with Russian government intermediaries in his capacity as a campaign surrogate. He says that part wasn't true, but he said that didn't mean that he'd never met a Russian in the history of his life.
But a reminder here, Anderson, that "The Washington Post" previously reported Ambassador Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he met with Sessions last April at the Mayflower Hotel, in July at the RNC, 2016, both of those meetings, and claimed that the two had substantive conversations about campaign-related matters. Sessions as you know initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pam Brown, thanks very much.
What surprised a number of observers is how often the attorney general was able to decline to answer certain questions without formally claiming executive privilege. Now, one reason he could count is because of a Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to keep things moving along, even if it caused friction with some Democrats on the panel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time of the gentlewoman has expired.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To answer the question --
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman would state his parliamentary inquiry.
CICILLINE: Is there authority in this committee to permit a witness to refuse to answer a question without properly invoking a privilege? And if not what is the appropriate response from the chairman to enforce the committee's ability to do proper oversight?
Mr. Chairman, if I may be heard, I do not believe there's any such privilege or any right to assert a refusal to answer simply questions because --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman is not asserting a parliamentary inquiry --
CICILLINE: I'm asking the asking to rule so we could appeal the ruling of the chair, if you're going to prevent us from getting answers to these questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no ruling of the chair.
CICILLINE: Well, then I would ask that the witness be directed to answer the gentlelady from Washington's question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was Congressman David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island. I spoke to him earlier this evening.
COOPER: Congressman, is this unusual to have people appearing before Congress and choosing not to answer questions without having executive privilege invoked?
CICILLINE: It's very unusual. This is pattern for the attorney general. He comes before a committee. He takes an oath to testify truthfully and fully.
And when he gets to question he's uncomfortable with he'd say, I'd rather not answer, I can't answer that.
[20:10:04] I pressed him as far as I could to say, you either have to invoke executive privilege, you have to invoke the 5th Amendment privilege against self incrimination, you have to have some legal basis not to testify truthfully and fully, and he didn't have a basis. I then pressed the chairman to direct the witness to answer the question.
You know, we have oversight responsibility. Witnesses don't get to pick and choose what they want to answer. So, it's very unusual. But it's disappointing that the Republican chairman and other Republican members of the committee allowed that to happen and really did not allow us to do meaningful oversight that we're required to do.
COOPER: I mean, do you think the attorney needs to come back in front of the committee and answer the questions he didn't answer today?
CICILLINE: Absolutely. And he needs to come back again and take the same oath and be directed by the chairman to answer the questions of the committee.
COOPER: I mean, sense (INAUDIBLE) today's hearing was that the attorney general says he's never lied about Russia, that any inconsistencies were the result of poor memory, do you believe him? Because he said he didn't remember things and then suddenly he remembered his conversations with George Papadopoulos, you know, until he heard what he says, he didn't know about them until he heard about them on the news and now he does remember specifically the part when he told Papadopoulos not to represent the campaign in his contacts with Russia. I mean, does that make sense to you?
CICILLINE: No. I mean, that's one of things I asked was, when did these memories come back to you, and he said when I read it in the paper. And, you know, then I asked a series of questions about, did he receive e-mails or text messages or other communications from Mr. Papadopoulos or the campaign, and that's where he either didn't recall or declined to answer. But, you know, this is, unfortunately, another example of where the
attorney general of the United States, the highest ranking law enforcement official in the country, went before the Senate committee, took the same oath to testify truthfully and omitted or denied knowing about any contacts between the Trump organization and the Russians. Only when it becomes public by another source does he acknowledge that in fact those contacts were happening and he had a conversation at this national security meeting about it.
So, you're left not with a lot of confidence that he's being fully transparent in his disclosures and that he's answering questions that really get to the root of the question here about what did the Trump organization do, what did they know, what did the president know, when did he know it? Those are important oversight questions, and he has a responsibility to answer truthfully and fully and we've got a lot of dodging today.
COOPER: Well, I mean, just to be blunt, do you think he lied under oath?
CICILLINE: Look, he said under oath that he was not aware of any contacts between the Trump organization and the Russians. That is clearly not true. He finally admitted today or in subsequent statements that he was, in fact, at the meeting or presided over the meeting for Mr. Papadopoulos, talked about going to Russia and arranging a meeting between Vladimir Putin and then candidate Trump and that he shut that down and told him he wasn't authorized to do that. So, he remembered that conversation.
But he clearly testified on a prior occasion he was unaware of any such contacts. So this is again the fifth, six, seventh person in the Trump organization who had some contacts with Russians and failed to disclose it, either on FARA, on a foreign registration form, in testimony or in statements, and that begins to raise increased suspicion I think when people are trying to keep secret all of these contacts between the Trump Organization and Russian individuals that require not only the special prosecutor to continue his work and the intelligence committee, but also the Judiciary Committee. We have important oversight in this area, and we're not fulfilling them because we haven't had any hearings on these issues.
COOPER: Yes. Well, Congressman Cicilline, appreciate your time. Thank you.
CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: We'll get the panel's take on all of these, next.
And later, new story from Roy Moore's past. You'll hear from a former record store employee at the mall who says that Moore was on a watch list at that mall because he was pursuing teenage girls.
[20:16:39] COOPER: A reminder, Air Force One is expected shortly at Joint Base Andrews. We'll bring you any new comments made by the president.
In addition to that, Judge Roy Moore under fire for allegations of inappropriate behavior with teenage girls is right now at a revival in Jackson, Alabama. We're told he's going to speak sometime this hour. So, we're monitoring what he says, and we'll bring that to you.
We were talking right now about what Jeff Sessions could and could not remember about his meeting last year with the campaign's newly picked foreign policy team, including George Papadopoulos, who's now cooperating with special counsel Mueller.
I just want to play again something from a moment ago because for whatever else the attorney general said today, he sure said this a lot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I do not recall such a conversation. I don't recall it. I don't recall. I don't recall it. I don't recall it.
I don't recall that. I don't recall how that exactly occurred. I do not recall. But I did recall this event. I don't recall. I don't recall at this moment sitting here any such discussions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us is CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and former independent counsel Michael Zeldin, he also once served as Robert Mueller's special assistant in the Justice Department.
Richard Painter is with us. He served as White House chief ethics attorney in the George W. Bush administration. Currently, he teaches law at the University of Minnesota.
Insight as well from our chief political correspondent Dana Bash.
So, Jeff, did the attorney general help himself at all today or make matters worse?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think he probably left most people thinking about what they think of him going in. I mean, he's not a particularly popular figure. Most polls about the Trump administration wind up being about 60-40 against. And I think that's probably what they would be for Jeff Sessions.
And, you know, he had a tough story to sell because he was asked by Al Franken, you know, did anyone have any connection with the campaign, have any contact with Russia? He said categorically no a few weeks ago. Now we know that that was not the case, that George Papadopoulos did have contact with Russia and did discuss it with Sessions.
And what made Sessions' comments particularly a little hard to swallow was that now he remembers this conversation and he remembers giving very good advice. Now, you have to wonder why he didn't remember giving such good advice when he was asked about it the first time. The good advice he said he gave he said was, don't have anything to do with the Russians. But it certainly didn't seem like a case of perjury that's going to be prosecuted, so I think the people who don't like Jeff Sessions are not going to like him and the people who like him will continue to.
COOPER: Richard, to Jeffrey's point, though, he said he, you know, remembers giving good advice but he said he didn't remember really anything else about that meeting. So, no details about what was talked about or said at that meeting or even what Papadopoulos said, but he just remember telling him you don't represent the campaign in any dealings with Russia.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I like Jeff Sessions over the years and I've met him several times. He's a very nice man. I don't always agree with him, but I've liked him.
But I have to say, his memory with respect to anything having to do with Russia is very incomplete. And we'll just have to leave it at that. He's been in front of Congress several times, testifying and seems to forget anything having to do with Russia.
[20:20:03] That being said, some other respects in which he's at least a halfway decent attorney general -- I mean, I think he may resist this absurd idea they ought to be investigating Hillary Clinton. There's no evidence for any of that type of thing. And then the other thing is he's thus far not fired Robert Mueller.
And I know they've hatched a plan to try to put him on the Senate ballot down there in Alabama and he's certainly a better senator than that pervert running around a revival meetings what's going on down there. But if they put in a different attorney general and use that is an excuse to fire Robert Mueller, all hecks going to break loose and could end up with a president getting impeached.
So, we could be in a lot worse situation than we are right now with Jeff Sessions as attorney general, even though as they say, he's easy to forget everything to do with Russia and the Trump campaign.
COOPER: I just want to point out the president's actually landed at Joint Base Andrews. That's the president's plane, Air Force One, which has just touched down. Obviously, the president returning from him trip throughout Asia. We'll see if the president makes any remarks tonight about that trip or if he's said anything on Air Force One to the traveling press corps who has been with him. He obviously has made news in the past several days in conversations with the traveling press corps. So, we'll bring you that as warranted.
Dana, let me continue this conversation about Jeff Sessions. At what point does he use up all the goodwill he's, you know, supposedly built up during his years in Congress? At what point do even Republicans go frustrated with him, because clearly you saw the Democratic congressman today saying, look, you know, trying to get clarification on, he's not answering questions but he's not trying to take executive privilege. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I think that the
frustration is there. There's no question about it. But there are also is a sentiment that you just heard Mr. Painter express, which is it could be a whole lot worse. He -- Jeff Sessions is somebody who wasn't certainly like an insular part of this Senate club, but he's somebody who many people who he served with think of a good public servant and somebody who did do the right thing at the beginning of the Trump administration and recuse himself. And he is still paying the price internally from the president himself for doing exactly that.
You know, you have to remember the situation that he is in. The president has railed against him in private, in public for effectively, from his perspective, ruining his administration, putting a cloud over his administration because Sessions recusing himself, of course, led to this special counsel and led to the investigation as robust as it is now.
So, it's a very dicey thing because, you know, certainly there's frustration with Sessions, but they also feel be careful what you wish for.
COOPER: Michael, would it surprise you if special counsel Mueller was looking at what the attorney general told Congress about Russia? I mean, if you were Mueller, would you want to interview Sessions?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Of course, I'd want to interview Sessions. I agree with Jeffrey Toobin, though, that the questions and answers put forth today and in the previous two hearings will not give rise to a false statements prosecution, so it is what it is.
The thing that was most aggregating to me is that he's been before Congress now three times and didn't recall over 100 times during the three courses of the appearance there. And you'd think that by the third time around, he would have done something to refresh his recollection so that when he got there this time, he could say, you know, I didn't remember the first or second time, but I spent my time studying and now here are my answers.
As well, Anderson, when you combine that with this continued refusal to answer questions about conversations he had with the White House, when he's not -- when the president has not asserted privilege and he has no sort of basis if you will, even in DOJ policy not to answer those questions, it's just galling and I think in some respects very disrespectful of the oversight responsibilities that Congress has. But that said, I don't think Mueller's got an indictment there.
The other thing I want to add is that he said on his, an answer to the questions about his security clearance, the SF-86 form, that he didn't list any foreign contacts there because he was told he didn't have to. I filled out those forms. Most of us who have been in government have filled out those forms. I think Richard could say the same.
But that question 20.B6, does not provide an out for answering those questions and I know. I looked hard for any DOJ or FBI policy that excuses him from answering the questions of foreign contacts. And so, I think that that's potentially a little bit more problematic if in fact that's not true.
COOPER: Richard, can't somebody just go to Congress and, you know, swear to answer questions and tell the truth and then not answer questions but the White House hasn't invoked executive privilege?
[20:25:02] Can you just say, well, I don't think it's appropriate for me to say that and you're not pleading the Fifth or anything?
PAINTER: You can do whatever you want if Congress is willing to let you get away with it. And if the committee chair wants to let people get away with incomplete testimony, that's what he does. And that's what we're getting out of this Congress is no effective oversight of the administration because they don't want to. They're afraid that the president will come and support some primary challenger. So, they're backing off, and they aren't exercising any aggressive oversight.
But that's Congress' fault that that's going on. And I'm not happy with the situation, but I want to emphasize that it could be a lot worse. And if they try -- as the rumors are, try to solve this Steve Bannon created mess down in Alabama by putting him on the ballot down there, well, that's fine. But they better have an attorney general that's going to keep Mueller in place, or we're going to have a constitutional crisis very, very quickly in this country.
BASH: You know, I think that the point you guys are making is an important one and it's one we should emphasize which is, I was somebody who watched Jeff Sessions the senator for years and years and years. And I was just imagining him being on that panel today and getting the non-answer after non-answer after non-answer from say the Obama administration or even the Bush administration. He rightly would have been outraged because it flies in the face of the oversight responsibility that both Congress and those who work for the executive branch are supposed to adhere to.
And so, if you want to add this to the long list of why people are so fed up with Washington because when the shoe is on the other foot, it looks a whole lot different, this is great example.
COOPER: Yes. Thanks to everybody on the panel tonight.
As you see, the president has arrived, just landed on Joint Base Andrews, arriving back in Washington after his Asia trip. We're waiting for him to be coming down off of Air Force One, see if he makes any comments.
Also on the left-hand side of your screen, watching the revival where former Judge Roy Moore and his wife are seated. Roy Moore expected to speak there tonight. We're going to monitor that when he does to see if he makes any comments about the number of allegations which have piled up against him, new allegations also tonight that we'll bring to you shortly.
We're going to take a quick break. Our coverage continues in just a moment.
[20:31:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The President is back from his trip to East Asia, more than 20,000 air miles. Air Force One touching down just a short time ago at Joint Base Andrews. The President is descending the stairs on his own saying nothing, he did not speak to reporters during the flight, we have learned.
In addition to question about Russian interference in the election, lawmakers also asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in that report. He is considering second special counsel to investigate Democrats that would reportedly include alleged ties between Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation and the sale of Uranium Company to Russia.
CNN Jessica Schneider tonight has that story.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic lawmakers pressing hard today over whether the White House is using the DOJ to go after Hillary Clinton.
JOHN CONYERS (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In a functioning Democracy, is it common for the leader of the country to order the criminal justice system to retaliate against his political opponent?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would say that it's -- the Department Of Justice can never be used to retaliate politically against opponents and that would be wrong.
SCHNEIDER: The question now at the forefront, because of this letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent Monday night informing the House Judiciary Committee, several prosecutors would evaluate whether a second special counsel is appropriate. After the House Intelligence Committee announced its own probe into whether Hillary Clinton improperly influence the nine agency approval of sales of Uranium Company to Russia because of Russian backs business donations to the Clinton Foundation, the President pressed for a probe.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm really not involved with the Justice Department I'd like to let it run itself but honestly they should be looking at the Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear --
SCHNEIDER: Attorney General Sessions pledge to recuse himself from any investigation into Clinton back in January.
SENATOR CHUCH GRASSLEY (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: To be very clear you intend to recuse yourself from both the Clinton e-mail investigation and any matters involving the Clinton Foundation if there are any?
SESSIONS: Yes. SCHNEIDER: But before the House Judiciary, Sessions seemed to waiver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you recused from investigations that involve Secretary Clinton?
SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, I cannot answer that yes, or no, because under the policies of the Department of Justice to announce recusal in any investigation would reveal the existence of that investigation. And the top ethic officials had advised me I should not do so.
SCHNEIDER: Before finally answering yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At your confirmation hearing you said, I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself. Do you stand by that statement yes or no?
COOPER: Just Attorney General Sessions also revealed other probe by the Justice Department, not just this investigation with the uranium deal, what are the other one spokes of?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, the Justice Department Anderson, going aggressive after leaks. Sessions disclose today that the DOJ has 27 open investigations into the leaks of classified information that includes leaks to journalist.
Now, this is a huge jump from years past where there were just nine investigations in the past three years. Of course, Anderson, President Trump has made weeks of a big focus and now we're getting a close to look at just how big of a focus it is for the Department of Justice to. Anderson.
COOPER: Jessica Schneider thanks very much.
Joining me now, Jonathan Turley Constitutional Law Scholar and back with us is the CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, I mean, the President's literally said he wants the DOJ to investigate Secretary Clinton, and as a candidate he threatened to jail her. Could he have been, and he clear about what he wants the attorney general to do?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No he couldn't. And now we're waiting to decide whether the Justice Department is going to reflect how authoritarian government in Russia and Turkey work and how whether it's going to started investing the person who lost the last Presidential election.
[20:35:02] COOPER: You think it's that bad?
TOOBIN: If this goes forward based on this evidence this will be a very low moment in the history of American Law Enforcement. When you think about the incredible absence of evidence of any wrong doing by Hillary Clinton, and the fact that the President of the United States has all by ordered his attorney general to investigate his political rival, it is a deeply, deeply scary process.
COOPER: Professor Turley do you see the same way?
JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW SCHOLAR: Well, I don't see it. I don't go as far as certainly Jeff does with the analysis this other country. I think it is important to start off by saying I agree that the President shouldn't be making these statements, I consider it inappropriate. It also works against his interest, anything the Department of Justice does after making statement of that kind does fall into this narrative and it's not a fair narrative when the President's saying he wants them to investigate.
Now, putting that aside, many people in this country believe that the Russians not only influence the elections but may bought influence before this election. This company is divided. I mean, I supported the appointment of the special counsel once Comey was fired because I thought people really do need to get answers here and I think the people deserves answers on the Clinton side as well.
A lot of money went through the foundation and also to the Clintons personally from foreign sources. I don't think that's a triviale concern, I don't think you could just simply dismiss it. I don't personally believe that there is strong evidence against Hillary Clinton. I'm equally skeptical about the case against President Trump. But at some point I think it does work to the benefit of the public to get answers to all of this.
But having said that, he signed -- the attorney general had given this to career prosecutors to make a decision whether there's anything there. If they come back and say, you know what, there's not, then we have our answer and that brings more closure.
COOPER: Jeff --
TOOBIN: We don't do law enforcement investigations in this country because people are just curios. I mean, you know, that is a very serious thing to do a law enforcement investigation. Yes, the Clinton Foundation raised a lot of money. Yes, the Clintons gave speeches. So what, that is not a crime, that's not evidence of a crime. The President of the United States fired the FBI director because the FBI director was investigating the President of the United States. That is prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice. That's why we have a special prosecutor in this case. Just because people are curios about the Clintons and Fox News run with it every night constantly that is not justification for the Justice Department to investigate the Clintons.
TURLEY: I have to disagree with my friend, Jeff. Frankly, I think that there is an odd contrast of presumptions here. I think that there's a lot of presumptions about the potential criminality throughout the Trump investigation. I think looking objectively at what the Clintons did, they weren't trivial amounts of money or trivial concerns and this isn't just about curiosity. Many of these allegations fit a plate type of scenario. I happen to think that she's -- I don't think that she's necessarily guilty, and I think that the evidence is unlikely to show that. But to say that this is mere curiosity really shows this contrast and presumption. We have a very serious problem in this country about loads of money going to very powerful people who are making powerful decisions in country affected by these donations and by the public decisions. To say that that's just a mere curiosity I think is being too dismissive.
TOOBIN: A uranium company got a contract from the U.S. government after nine agencies of which the state department was one approved this contract. Why should the FBI be investigating people, the Clintons, for something that she had absolutely no control over.
TURLEY: No, Jeff. I actually agree with you that -- I think that the connection between Hillary Clinton and uranium one it seems quite tentative to me because of that committee. But there are long standing allegations with regard to money going to both Bill Clinton into the foundation from foreign countries and request being made almost immediate before or after this contributions were made to the State Department.
And it raises concerns, not just by critic but people within the government. I think you're familiar with that. So to say that it's a mere curiosity I think it's a bit too dismissive.
COOPER: Let's leave it there. Professor Turley and Jeff Toobin, good discussion, thank you. I appreciate it.
COOPER: New details also emerging about Alabama U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct with minors, we're now learning about other allegations that he was on a kind of watch list at a local mall in the 1980s after allegedly picking (ph) for teenage girls. Our Gary Tuchman track down a former mall employee. He spoke to him about that, next.
[20:40:00] In addition, the revival meeting for anything the Judge Moore has to say about this new allegation or the existing ones. We'll bring it to you.
And tonight, a shooting in Northern Carolina left four people dead, including a mom driving her kids to school. The latest details from the scene when we continue.
COOPER: We're learning new details about the extent of sexual misconduct to accusations against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. Alabama.com first reported that Moore was on kind of watch list at a local Gadsden Alabama mall in the early 1980s for allegedly trying to pick up teenager girls. Our Gary Tuchman spent the day trying to track down that story. He joins me now.
So you talked to a lot of people there. What did you learned? GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I can tell you Roy Moore is beloved here in his hometown of Gadsden Alabama and the State of Alabama but not by everybody.
Today numerous people pulled us over, Democrats and Republicans to tell us about their claim of thing they say they saw or things they heard about Moore's behavior with teenager girls before he got married in 1985. And we can tell you that most of those people did not want to go on camera. They are afraid to go on camera but one man did with a related story. He worked in the Gadsden mal, a local mall here in the music store between 1981 and 1985. He says when he was hired he was told at the mall had a list of people banned from the mall. If he saw any of those people on official list he was to report it. The people on that list included pick pockets and other kinds of criminals and also included a certain assistant district attorney.
GREG LEGAT, FORMER GADSDEN MALL EMPLOYEE: We talked about other people I mean, someone said, and don't forget about Roy Moore. And I asked what about Roy Moore and he said. Well he's banned from the mall. I asked, why is he banned and the police officer wouldn't tell me. He said if you see him, let me know, I'll take care on it.
[20:45:11] TUCHMAN: So what did you eventually learned as to the reason why he was banned for the mall?
LEGAT: When I was told that he was bothering girls in the mall.
TUCHMAN: In what way?
LEGAT: I don't know exactly. That he was approaching them and talking to them.
TUCHMAN: A girls, when you're saying girls --
LEGAT: Teenage girls.
TUCHMAN: And did you ever see him in the mall?
LEGAT: I think I saw him walked by the front of store once. I told my manager. My manager said, I'll call J.D. and that's all I have heard.
TUCHMAN: J.D. is the police officer?
LEGAT: And in '85 before I left, Roy, came in one day with his wife and bought records and left and nobody say anything about it.
TUCHMAN: Did you report it.
TUCHMAN: How come you didn't report it then?
LEGAT: Everybody was like well, this is fine. So I said OK. I don't know anything about any behavior towards any women. All I know is my experience in the mall with him at that time and that's the truth. I don't have a grind against Roy Moore, I just -- you asked me I told you.
TUCHMAN: Greg Legat worked in the record bar music store between 1981 and 1985. Roy Moore was in his 30s back then. Now, we've tried to contact the man who was the head of security, 30 to 40 years ago that man who was mentioned D.J., he has not returned our call at this point. We can tell you that local police here in Gadsden say they have never dealt with the mall, although some police officers, who freelance work at the mall, the police department here would have nothing to do that.
We talked to the people who run the mall today and they say today they have an official list of people who are banned from the mall, people who have violated mall policy but 40 years ago, or 35 years ago they did not own the mall so they do not know what the policy was like back in those days. Anderson.
COOPER: And obviously some people will ask about him and you talked to where he stands politically, would you know?
TUCHMAN: Right. He tells us he's a Democrat. But he says, he doesn't vote by party. He votes "by honor." Honorable people are who we votes for. He says, he wanted to talk to us because he felt very strongly about these issues, strongly about what he knew back then. He did not want to talk on camera first, Anderson, he frighten about talking on camera but he ultimately believe that he was important to say the truth on camera. He says he was afraid he was going to get criticized and attacked on the internet. And he told me just a short time ago he has been attacked on the internet and he's notified police about that.
COOPER: All right, Gary. Thanks very much.
Today, even more lawmakers on Capitol Hill are condemning Moore. Majority leader Mitch McConnell even spoke to the President about the issue. Ryan Nobles joins us from Capitol Hill with that story.
So Paul Ryan, wait in today on Moore and no answer in term, what's the latest?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Anderson, the speaker not mixing words when it comes to Roy Moore. He suggested that it is time for the candidate to step aside. And he also said that he believes the allegations made by these women are credible and that they should be listened to.
And this really marks a shift in tone up here on Capitol Hill, no longer the qualifier of being used by many members of Congress saying originally that if these allegations are true, then Moore should step aside. Many of them now just saying that it's time for him to end his campaign, but of course, at this point Roy Moore doesn't seem to be heeding those warnings. Anderson.
Senator McConnell he also took a stance on this step further today, correct? NOBLES: Yes, that's right. He took it all the way to the top basically. He went right to President Trump. He actually phoned him during his trip to Asia to ask him how this should be handled by the White House and by Republican leadership here.
You know, the White House has taken a very cautious approach to this. They have not said specifically that it's time for Moore to step down but they have expressed some concern and there's a feeling that now that the President is back here in Washington that he will become more actively involved in this situation.
COOPER: The tension between the Republican establishment and Moore, which obviously has been going on for a while at a high pitch right now, I mean, is Moore using it to his advantage right now? It seems like he's been fund raising on this notion that he's being targeted?
NOBLES: Right, he is certainly is, Anderson. And there's an argument to be made that these calls by the Republican establishment here on Washington plays right into his campaign handbook. And this is a guy that fancies himself and outsider. He is running against the establishment. And today he went on Twitter and specifically called for Mitch McConnell to step down as Majority Leader. And he is using the hash tag, inside hack job. He believes that the Republican establishment is out to get him. And he believes that will play well with his base.
And frankly, there isn't a whole lot of Republican leaders here in Washington can do to stop his candidacy. He will remain on the ballot wen voters go to the polls in December. The only chance the Republicans have would be to attempt to mount some sort of a writing campaign, which would certainly be a long shot bid at best.
[20:50:01] The best they can hope that is, if he does win election in December that they make some sort of an attempt to expel him from office, which would be rare here on Capitol Hill and would be difficult to do it. Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ryan Nobles, thanks.
Coming up, at least four people are dead after a shooting rampage throughout a county in Northern California. There were multiple locations, including an elementary school. I'll tell you how police it's started and how it ended, next.
COOPER: A shooter killed at least four people during a rampage through a county northern California. Law enforcement officials say the gunman shot at least seven separate locations including an elementary school before he himself was shot dead by police. Dan Simon joins us now with the latest.
So a police press conference just wrapped up. What have we learned?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this all began as some kind of neighborhood or domestic dispute and then it quickly spiraled out of control. After an initial burst of gun fire where the shooter was shooting at a woman he had been feuding with. He then gets into a stolen pickup truck and then randomly starts shooting into people's homes.
And then, at some point, he crashes that pick up truck. And then according to authorities, he car jacks a driver and then randomly starts shooting even more people. At one point he hits a woman who is driving to school with her children in the back seat. That woman, that young mother was shot. She is in the hospital with life threatening injuries. There is also a boy in the back seat who was also apparently shot or wounded by some shrapnel. He is expected to survive. And then things really get frightening.
[50:55:08] The shooter then shows up at an elementary school warmed with semi-automatic rifle, several handguns and then starts shooting at the school. He is shuttering windows, he is shooting through walls. We know that at least, one boy was injured and he is expected to survive. Other people were wounded by the class. I want you to listen now to the assistant sheriff who explained the situation happening at the school. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL JOHNSON, TEHAMA COUNTY ASSISTANT SHERIF: The shooter literally took his vehicle and rammed their fence and gate, entered the grounds on foot with a semi-automatic rifle that had multi-round clip. He was wearing a load bearing vest that you sometimes see soldiers wear that have the clips embedded in the chest. And he literally, because it appears that because he couldn't make access to any of the rooms that they were locked, that he gave it up and reentered the vehicle and then went on his killing spree and took it to the streets of Rancho Tehama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: So authorities saying there that it could have been many more victims. That assistant sheriff crediting the quick thinking actions at the school, the school immediately went under lock down and he says because of that, in his words, the shooter was frustrated and then left. He was then apprehended or engaged by authorities a couple blocks away where there was a shoot out and he was shot dead. Anderson.
COOPER: Dan Simon, I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Coming up, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is back on Capitol Hill talking some of different version of events involving contact with Russia and then the other times, he testified. We'll have the latest on that and the latest on Judge Roy Moore.